Copyright Registration

Do I have to register my copyright for it to be protected?

You do not need to register the copyright for it to be protected. However, there are advantages to registering your work; for example, registration is necessary before filing a copyright infringement suit and it is also necessary to obtain attorney’s fee. Registration may be made at any time within the life of the copyright

How do I register my copyright?

To register your work, you must send the following three items together to:

Library of Congress
Copyright Office
101 Independent Avenue, S.E.
Washington, DC 20559-6000

  1. A completed application; please note that different applications are required depending on the type of work you are seeking to register
  2. A non-refundable filing fee of $30.00 for each application
  3. A non-returnable deposit of the work being registered, please note that the deposit requirements may vary.

Visit for additional information and applications.

How long does copyright registration take?

A copyright registration is effective on the date that the Copyright office receives your registration materials. The length of time it takes to process your application varies and could take up to five months.

How long does a copyright last?

As a general rule, for works created after Jan. 1, 1978, copyright protection lasts for the lifetime of the author plus an additionally 70 years. For a work made for hire, the copyright will endure for a period of 95 years from the year of it first publication or 120 years from its creation, whichever expires first. For a more in depth discussion see 17 U.S.C. sections 301-305.

Does the MLS already copyright the listing?

The MLS holds a copyright to the compilation of the listings. A “compilation” is a work formed by the collection and assembling of preexisting materials or of data that are selected, coordinated, or arranged in such a way that the resulting work as a whole constitutes an original work of authorship. Therefore, the copyright is truly in the “selection” and “arrangement” of the material, not in the individual listing, and not in the individual components of the listing, such as photographs and remarks.

Learn more: Copyright Registration Procedures for MLS Databases